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Young's Achievements

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  1. Just as a bump and to share some of my own thoughts, few people known of my beliefs, though I am fairly certain that my advisor shares at least some of them. When I discuss certain principles of Objectivism with students they are receptive but I don't think it quite proper to be introducing or advocating positions to them in an introductory class . It seems to me that the greatest amount of discussion of principles comes from speaking to work colleagues but even then in depth discussion doesn't usually occur.
  2. So I was thinking with various means of potential exposure from non-Oists to Objectivism/Objectivist principles (everything from the video game Bioshock to the AS movie which may or may not come to fruition) what kind of exposure do users of this board experience and create? A couple of questions I have include: How many people are aware of your beliefs? What type of impressions do others take away from meeting you regarding Objectivism (I was particularly wondering whether anyone has experiences which contradict the stereotype of Objectivists as selfish in the Kantian sense)? What do most people you interact with know about Objectivism at first blush? (For instance, are people more aware of Rand's personality, the 'cult' stereotype, the issues with the Brandens, etc.) Lastly do you think positive "advertising", if you will, would have be of any value, and if so how would you suggest going about it? (Note: I know that many will say, no advertisement is needed, just have people read the books, but it certainly makes it harder to interact with the vast majority of people and the possibility of, say, an Objectivist Political Party is made difficult by negative impressions)
  3. This topic probably bears on Metaphysics as well but I think its specific enough that it would probably be discussed with regards to psychology. Does anyone know if Ms. Rand ever made any comments on the nature of physical addiction or dependence? Was she aware of neuropsychological findings regarding either? The answer to either these bear on various questions regarding consciousness, can ability to focus be quantified, do altered states of conscious affect volitional choices, can rationality be assessed for someone in an altered state of consciousness (and whether there is any way to delimit the difference between complete loss of volitional control and a reduction in the ability to think rationally).
  4. Green Lantern. Particularly the former Hal Jordan Character. Sure he hangs out with ultra rich commie Green Arrow but his powers came entirely from his strength of will, bravery, and pride in himself. What's more if you ever read the series in which he goes 'rogue', emerald twilight, there are many parallels to the Fountainhead. Namely, rather than accept the traditional stance of the guardians to act like an intergalactic even-more-impotent UN, he chooses to put his own values ahead of everything. Plus, power wise he's the ultimate in rational superheroes, the extent of his powers is only limited by his imagination.
  5. I think we might be discussing this with different definitions of determinism at this point. Determinism means that every event has a cause. Indeterminism means that not every event has a cause. Free will means that our actions are caused by our self, but our self has no cause.
  6. Young


    Thank you for your post. My questions were more toward why Good journalism as you describe it should result from rational self interest. Specifically if it is to my benefit to leave out that the forest being knocked down will allow for a highly efficient factory because of my tree-hugging readership, why shouldn't I? Wouldn't it be to my advantage to write things my readership will like (and hence attract better advertising)? Are lies of omission in this business tools of the trade? Where does bias arise from and how is it beneficial? Does being corporately owned require that you have a wider variety of writers (in writers' perspectives, audiences, etc)?
  7. While there are some interesting thought experiments going on here I think it might be fruitful to other implications of deterministic vs non-deterministic systems. Specifically if we are in a completely materially deterministic system then mental states have no causal efficacy, aka Epiphenomenalism. An epiphenomenalist can not argue that they have any responsibility for any actions, hence any form of compatibilism, like that espoused by the article you linked to Martian, is meaningless. If you are going to argue that we are conscious and that we are determined, anything mental about us is basically John Cusack's character at the end of "Being John Malkovich". I am not offering this as a disproof of determinism but if you advocate it then you are also advocating Epiphenomenalism.
  8. Young

    Traffic Laws

    I assume you are asking if I think there is something beyond existence (rather than asking "why" I do, which would imply that I did). I wasn't implying, and indeed it would be nonsensical to imply that. I was stating that if extended you could say that you can violate others rights if you are certain that there is no chance of it diminishing your chance of survival. For instance if I developed a special 'Young' gun which when fired would reduce everyone to obeying me it would still be wrong to do so, despite the fact that it would greatly increase my chances of survival, etc. Your goal should be a life oriented to your choosing which respects others' goals so long as they don't conflict with yours. Just saying that it consists of your survival is inaccurate.
  9. I agree, the machine specified could not exist but that only addresses predicatability as a practical notion. I think there are some advantages and at times some necessity to supposing people will act in accordance with the way they believe they are 'meant' to act at times. For instance if you give me sufficient evidence that you are a killer on the loose it is to my benefit to consider you a dangerous person and prepare much more for the eventuality in which you would choose to kill me than the eventuality in which you would choose not to. Past choices don't dictate future ones but it would be foolish to ignore the implications your past choices have on what type of choice you might make. Whenever this inductive leap is taken there is a chance of error but use of it as a hypothetical is helpful in many cases.
  10. I disagree, a fair amount of our ability to form concepts is informed by perceptual processes and these and certain abilities that approach abstraction are found in animals. Evidence for separate coding of different forms of numerosities are found in the animal brain (and much debated in humans). And the work which helps us distinguish between concept knowledge in humans and lack thereof in animals is very important, almost equivalent to that which helps us distinguish between adults and children.
  11. Young


    The case is often made that in our current culture that News Media is owned by companies with agendas. Many news outlets cater to specific populations or ideologies, it seems, in their political bent, etc. Is it possible to find really objective news sources or resources that have equivalent coverage to major news networks that don't have 'agenda'? The greater question is in a free market capitalist society what incentive is there to offer news free from a corporations advertising? Do you imagine in an idealized society that news outlets will compete amongst themselves to be the most 'objective' in reporting? Will this be a highly sought out (and expensive) commodity?
  12. Besides this point it really comes down to what defines a hero, is it simply dying for something you believe in, was he not acting heroically/virtuously before he died? This term is bandied about too much, in the news victims, martyrs and heroes are equated so often that they become indistinguishable.
  13. I think this is impracticable at the moment, what's more the idea of a country comprised of people who respect each others rights would have to come long before an Objectivist-based country.
  14. It doesn't address the validity of a claim that everything is determined but it yet again affirms that you can't have responsibility in a world in which you have no causal efficacy.
  15. I certainly agree that many primatologists are looking for profound conclusions. On the other hand looking at the way in which for instance primates or ravens can use numbers give us a better understanding of how our own concepts develop and their form.
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